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Stories from Inspire, Style

A Day in the Life of Amelia Lee, Founder of Crafting Studio Sunshine & Love

by Voices Wellness 22 Mar 2022
Photo: Amelia

The homegrown artist tells us how craft therapy brought sunshine back into her life while recovering from depression. Interview by SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

What started as a simple endeavour to create hand-painted gifts for her family and friends back in 2015, has since morphed into a home-based crafting studio brimming with colours and joy. Meet Amelia, a homegrown artist who has curated her studio with love—think corners filled with precious trinkets, collections of odds and ends that reflect what she loves as an artist, as well as encouraging signs that deck the walls of her light-filled kitchen.

What few know is that she had to battle a rough patch of depression before emerging from the shadows and finding intentional ways to stay positive. She owes it largely to craft therapy, which helped her find a sense of mindfulness in her daily life. We chat with Amelia to understand how art and self-expression can be powerful tools to transform one’s life.

What’s in a day’s work for you?

My workday is either intense or relaxing depending on the deadlines, projects, and event requests we get. My to-do list reads like this: Prepare for virtual workshops, plan for pop-up events, paint gift requests, stock take, photograph my products, meet suppliers, and reply to emails. Each day, I make it a habit to wake up earlier to enjoy a 10-minute stretch before I dive into work.

As the founder of a crafting brand Sunshine and Love, what is the most fulfilling part about your job, and what’s the most challenging?

The most challenging part is finding a sense of direction for the brand so that it’s constantly relevant to our followers and clients. I hope Sunshine & Love inspires the courage to try new things so that people can experience the simple joys of painting and crafting. It fulfils me to see my workshop participants take time off their mobile phones and their busy schedules to be present for themselves and their loved ones.

Photo: Amelia

How do art and craft fit into your own self-care regime?

My craft work reminds me to be present for myself daily. When I paint, concentrating on my hand movements helps my mind focus.

Finding mindfulness through art has been growing in popularity in Asia and beyond. What do you think is its appeal? 

Living in a digitally-savvy world, our lives tend to be rushed and stressful. As such, working on a piece of art, no matter what form, is a great way to cultivate mindfulness. You’re brought into the present moment when you choose your favourite colours, feel the paint texture, and direct the movement of each paint stroke.

How does craft therapy work? Who would you recommend it to and why?

Not only is craft therapy a vehicle for self-connection and self-expression, but it also helps you achieve a flow state and be aware of the present moment. I stumbled upon the idea of craft therapy while working on Sunshine & Love and recovering from depression. Painting something each day brought a lot of quiet joy and healing to my heart.

I highly recommend craft therapy to anyone who needs a respite from daily life as research has shown that crafting improves one’s mood, self-confidence, and reduces overall stress. It is also a good way to boost mental agility and stimulate dopamine—a chemical in the brain that keeps us happy!

What does wellness mean to you and why?

Wellness means being able to enjoy my day with occasional moments of reflection, living a slow life, and staying healthy. When we’re in a good place, we thrive and grow emotionally and spiritually. People around us will also benefit from the empathy we’ve developed for ourselves and others.

Photo: Amelia

What are some of your favourite ways to celebrate self-love?

I love brisk walking in nature as being near sunshine, the clouds, the sky, and the sea always puts me in a good mood. Soaking in a bathtub with a view is the ultimate sort of self-love for me!

With March being the month celebrating International Women’s Day, what is one message you would like to share with fellow women out there?

As women, there’s so much pressure—both internally and externally, due to the various roles we play as daughters, girlfriends, or wives. I hope you remember to be kind to yourself, even if you feel like you’ve made wrong choices and mistakes in life. The universe has its special way to help us find the courage and believe in ourselves again.

What does empowerment mean to you and why?

If we as individuals can grow in empathy and kindness towards ourselves and others by taking time to listen, increasing our awareness, practicing compassion, and being less judgmental, then we as a larger collective can be empowered to achieve greater things.

Find out more about Amelia here.

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